But Don't Touch by schildkroet
Your record will not be wiped clean, that’s hardly possible,“ the Lady President’s voice cut into his thoughts. “Your crimes can’t be undone, but this is your chance to leave them behind. You don’t deserve it, but here is the chance for a new life. A new body, a whole new set of regenerations. No-one will know who are. A new name — you can chose it yourself.” She smiled without humour. “But try to be a little more creative this time. And modest.”
The Master’s face remained stoic, while inwardly he smiled himself, and rather arrogantly so. He already had the perfect name. He didn’t need a new one.
“Of course,” he said earnestly.
Romana eyed him sceptically. She didn’t trust him. With good reason.
But the Master didn’t trust her either, nor did he trust this situation. They wouldn’t have resurrected him at all if they weren’t about to lose this war. This ‘chance for a new life’ was worthless if he’d only come back to die.
He did not intend to die for the Time Lords. In fact he could imagine nothing more pathetic.
A warning tone crept into the woman’s voice. “We give you this chance to make up for your past only because we need you. When all this is over, you are free to do as you like, but know this: We will always watch you. Closely. The moment you even consider another crime you will be arrested, and you will be executed. There will be no second and third chances this time. Is that understood?”
The Master only frowned at her, annoyed. That’s what happens if you’re not home for an election, he thought.
They were standing on a balcony, overlooking one of the high gardens of the citadel. From here, Gallifrey looked as it always had, seemingly untouched by the war. Just like it stayed untouched by anything; the world that never changed. Leaving here had been the best decision he’d ever made.
And now he was back, and they expected him to die so that the Time Lords could go back to their life of useless observation in which nothing ever happened. Oh, please!
There was nothing here for him to fight for.
The clouds that covered most of the sky promised snow, but it was surprisingly warm. The Master hated this place, hated this city and all the boring and useless hypocrites inside it. He had never missed this planet in all the time he’d spent out there, but now, standing under the orange sky it felt like home. He just would have preferred it without the people.
Well, most of the people.
Below them, in the garden, a small group could be seen now, making their way from one end to the other in a hurry. The group was led by a man who was talking none stop, explaining something rather angrily, rather impatient while gesticulating wildly, but it was hard to tell if he was speaking to the others or to himself. He didn’t seem to care if they could keep up with his speed. Not wearing the usual colourful robes like the men and women following him but clothes that were the latest fashion on the planet Earth in some century or another he could move a lot faster than them.
The Master had always hated those robes, but he had to admit they made for a certain dramatic effect now and then. When going to war they looked just silly.
He didn’t even notice his own smile until the Lady President firmly grabbed his arm.
“Leave him alone,” she said.
“They don’t want him here,” the Master pointed out, looking at the faces of the clearly annoyed senators stumbling around below them. Romana regarded him coolly, radiating distaste.
“I want him here.” Well, she was the president.
“Does he want to be here?” he asked and got no answer.
The Master smirked. “Tell me,” he began. “does he know what you did? That you let me come back to life to fight in your war?”
Romana glared at him.
“He doesn’t have to know.”
Sore point, obviously. Well, the Master would let him know soon enough.
On the other hand…
“If we lose this war, everyone dies,” Romana turned back to their original topic, interrupting his thoughts. “Every Time Lord in existence, yourself included. That should be motivation enough for you.”
“Oh, it is, don’t worry”, the Master reassured her. In fact, it was his only motivation.
She turned to leave.
“A new TARDIS is waiting for you,” she said as she reached the door that lead back into the room he’d been given. “You will leave tomorrow.”
Not much time, but he didn’t get the chance to protest; she was already gone.
Not that it mattered — She wanted him off her planet as soon as possible.
The garden was empty again, everyone having disappeared inside. The Master remained on the balcony a little longer, listening to the silence. In the silence he heard a distant drumbeat, quiet and audible only to him. Ever since he’d awakened in this new body it was there. No use wasting too many thoughts on it though. He had a new life, a new set of regenerations. The drums would fade with time.
There was a war going on. The whole of creation was at stake. No-one here knew who he was and the ones that knew couldn’t wait to see him go and get killed. The one person he wanted to know was out of his reach. And he was pretty sure he’d been locked in his room.
But right now everyting seemed pretty close to perfect. He was alive. The world was made of possibilities.
Leaning back he looked up, into the sky.
September 15, 2007
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